cover image Starlight 2

Starlight 2

Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Tor Books, $24.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86184-1

Rare's the sequel that matches its predecessor, especially when the original is as acclaimed as Starlight 1, which won the World Fantasy Award for best anthology. This diverse compilation of SF and fantasy, however, seems to live up to the expectations set, offering 13 original and powerful stories with an overall darker, grimmer cast than the ones that came before. M. Shayne Bell's protagonists travel time to revise the nation's history by attempting to correct the humiliations suffered by the black singer Marian Anderson in Jim Crow America (""Lock Down""). Geoffrey A. Landis introduces a physicist whose brilliance rivals Einstein's, but whose status as a homeless, unmarried mother forces theories about three-dimensional space to the back burner (""Snow""). The rich in Jonathan Lethem's dystopic ""Access Fantasy"" rape and kill the disenfranchised poor before retreating behind their ""One-Way Permeable Barrier."" ""The Death of the Duke,"" Ellen Kushner's adults-only fairy tale, eroticizes the moment of death when the Duke is pierced by his male lover's sword. Strong and varied, this anthology has gathered some gems of the genre. (Nov.)